Newly elected Dehcho Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian says talks are underway to welcome Nahanni Butte back to the Dehcho First Nations.
“It’s early in my term, but first of all I want to visit and learn more about our communities. I just got back from Nahanni Butte,” said Norwegian. She added that Nahanni Butte elders want to be part of the Dehcho again.
The Dehcho First Nations formed in 1999 as a regional voice for communities along the Mackenzie River. It has been negotiating a land claim settlement for the entire region since the 1993 Dehcho Declaration was signed in Kakisa.
The Acho Dene Koe First Nation of Fort Liard was the first community to pull out of the organization almost 10 years ago. It has since begun its own land claim negotiations with the federal and territorial government. The Katlodeeche First Nation, also known as the Hay River Reserve was next to pull out in 2013.
PehDzhe Ki First Nation has also threatened to leave the Dehcho Process, but returned to the fold.
Nahanni Butte Chief Peter Marcellais pulled Nahanni Butte out of the Dehcho First Nations in March 2017, saying “Im done with Herb Norwegian,” then Grand Chief of the Dehcho.
The newly elected Grand Chief, Gladys Norwegian is the former chief of the Jean Marie River First Nation, traditionally known as “Tthets’ek’ehdeli”, meaning water flowing over rocks or clay.
She has already moved to Fort Simpson, where the Dehcho First Nations headquarters is located.
“I moved to Fort Simpson shortly after my term ended in Jean Marie River, to teach a Dene Zhatie course with Aurora College.”
Norwegian says there will be a Dehcho Leadership Caucus in Katlodeeche on August 20th, ahead of the Dene National Assembly at West Point First Nation, near Hay River, NT.